The effect of TENS on selected symptoms in the management of patients with chronic tension type headache: a preliminary study

Nig Q J Hosp Med. 2008 Jan-Mar;18(1):25-9. doi: 10.4314/nqjhm.v18i1.44953.


Background: Headache is one of the most frequent causes of consultation in both general medical practice and neurological clinics. It is the most common of all medical conditions causing pain and disability. Headache is experienced by 90% of the general population at some point in life, as a consequence of febrile illness. However, primary headache occur in some people on chronic basis such as tension headache, and require long-term relief.

Objective: This study was aimed at investigating the efficacy of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) on Pain, Functional Disability and Cervical Range of Motion in patients with Chronic Tension Type Headache (CTTH).

Materials and methods: Eight (8) subjects aged 20-50 years with diagnosis of CTTH participated in the study. The subjects were treated thrice weekly for ten (10) weeks with an EV904 TENS unit made by Electromedical Supplies, at a pulse rate of 4Hz and pulse width of 200micros. Pain level, Functional Disability and Cervical Range of Motion were determined using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Headache Disability Index (HDI) and Universal Goniometer respectively. Data was analyzed using the Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test for pain and functional disability while unpaired t-test was used to analyze cervical range of motion. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05.

Results: The result showed a significant reduction in pain and functional disability with a significant improvement of cervical range of motion within the studied subjects.

Conclusion: Based on the findings of this study, it was therefore concluded that TENS application should be considered in the long-term management of patients with CTTH.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Tension-Type Headache / therapy*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult